The recent prisoner exchange between Belgium and Iran, announced by the government of Oman, has sparked strong condemnation from the Iranian opposition coalition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). The release of Assadollah Assadi, a convicted terrorist diplomat from Tehran, has drawn widespread criticism for its disregard of legal procedures and the victims involved. This act is seen as a surrender to terrorism and hostage-taking, which only serves to embolden Iran’s religious dictatorship in perpetrating further crimes both domestically and internationally, through repression and support for terrorism.
Assadi, who had been convicted for orchestrating and commanding a terrorist attack during an NCRI rally near Paris in 2018—a crime that was described as the largest in Europe since World War II—was released without notifying the victims, in clear violation of a court order. The NCRI vehemently condemns Assadi’s release and calls for justice to be served. Furthermore, the recent surge in executions in Iran, with 127 people executed from May 1 to May 25, underscores the regime’s ongoing human rights violations. In light of these developments, the Iranian Resistance vows to pursue justice both within Belgium and on the international stage.
Recently emerged details of the Iran-Belgium prisoner swap deal shed light on undisclosed information. Leaked documents from Iran’s Foreign Ministry reveal Tehran’s direct involvement in the negotiations, with Assadi’s release being a top priority for the regime. Allegedly, the Iranian regime even went as far as to threaten Belgium with severe consequences if Assadi was not set free. This deal raises concerns about the willingness of Western countries to engage in negotiations with regimes that actively support terrorism. Iran has long faced accusations of sponsoring terrorist organizations and conducting terrorist attacks worldwide.
Human rights activists and organizations express deep concern about the potential impact of this prisoner swap deal on the dire human rights situation in Iran. The Iranian regime has a well-documented history of suppressing dissent and violating human rights, including fair trial rights and freedom of expression. Moreover, there is a legitimate fear that the release of Assadi could encourage other nations to use hostages as bargaining chips in negotiations with Iran, which would further undermine international efforts to combat terrorism.
In this critical juncture, it is imperative for Western countries to remain vigilant and hold the Iranian regime accountable for its support of terrorism and human rights violations. It is imperative for the West to bring Iran’s agents of terror and their collaborators before the International Criminal Court to face justice.
The release of Assadi and the continuous human rights abuses by the Iranian regime should not be overlooked or overshadowed in pursuit of improved relations or economic gains. Western countries must unequivocally demonstrate their intolerance towards support for terrorism and human rights abuses, ensuring that those responsible are held accountable for their actions.
The Iranian Resistance will persist in seeking justice within Belgium and on the global stage, and it is the responsibility of Western nations to support these endeavors and hold the Iranian regime accountable for its actions. Only through a firm stance against terrorism and human rights violations can we strive for a more just and secure world.